May 2014 – SVA Open Studio Exhibition (Stroud)
Friends and Strangers

May 2017 – SVA Open Studio Exhibition (Nailsworth)
Dialogue between Word and Image

July 2019 – Lansdown Gallery (Stroud)
Outside In(Side) Out

“In the paintings for my exhibition Outside In(Side) Out I try to capture my sensory and emotional responses to a particular place at a specific moment – a place that excites and inspires me in some way. I have developed a process through which I make a series of ‘blind’ monochrome charcoal drawings in situ that express a multi-sensory response to the place. (This means that I don’t look at the drawings as I make them, thus interrupting the critical feedback loop, and allowing a more spontaneous and uncensored act of mark-making to take place). These gestural drawings, together with my memory of the experience, create a starting point, and structure for, the production of abstract oil paintings in the studio. Sometimes the paintings remain true to their origin and sometimes other forms and meanings emerge through the process of painting. My hope is to create paintings that are layered and textured, and that transmits an energy that does justice to my original experience of place, whilst remaining sufficiently ambiguous and abstract in their form to allow the viewer to project and discover their own meanings and forms in the image.”

September 2021 – Woodchester Mansion (Nympsfield, Nailsworth)
Floating Flaws @ Woodchester Mansion

“Woodchester Mansion inspires contradictory feelings in me, as I am impressed by its magnificent scale and fine craftsmanship, whilst at the same time being affected with a deep sense of sadness and desolation at the ‘stillborn’ nature of William Leigh’s grand enterprise. This reflects a seeming contradiction in the man himself, humble and devoted to his faith and his family, whilst also driven by a grandiose and unrealistic vision, which inevitably collapsed under the weight of its own expectations.

My work seeks to pay tribute to William Leigh the visionary – ‘lighting a fire’ in the cold heart(h) of the house through music, sound, and image – whilst acknowledging the ultimate flaw and destructiveness inherent in his singular religious idealism. A huge 7′ x 8′ portrait of the founder surveys the scene from above the fireplace in the soaring, flawless (sic) central structure, his gaze accompanied by a haunting soundscape emanating from the vaulted upper reaches of the space. A number of paintings (including the ‘House of God’ series) adorn the walls of the adjacent corridor, leading onto a video installation in the dark depths of the servant’s quarters.

The Portrait: a multi-media collage drawing, comprising charcoal, pastel, acrylic, and several hundred pages from the catholic bible.

The Soundscape: lasts for 24 minutes, one minute for each year the house was under construction, and seeks to portray the different, and at times conflicting, elements at play (spiritual, material, social, and personal) in the conception, creation, and ultimate abandonment of William Leigh’s grand project.

The choral music in the Soundscape uses elements of the Catholic Mass composed by Tallis, Byrd, and Palestrina; music which William Leigh may have envisaged echoing through the domestic corridors (though he was apparently quite conservative in his musical tastes and might have preferred simple Plainsong!) Although it resembles the vaulting grandeur of a cathedral, the main exhibition space has, in actuality, an almost dead acoustic, and in order to create the desired church-like resonance the music was re-recorded in the kitchen and scullery of the house, a space with a beautiful resonant acoustic. I also experimented with re-recording the choral music, several times over, from within the kitchen space, a process which results in weird distortions as the architectural space starts to impose its own particular influence on the sound.

Some of the sounds of tools were recorded live in the basement of the house and you may also spot old recordings of steam traction engines which would have been used in the construction of the house. The signals and calls of resident bats and rooks, along with other birdsong and natural sounds, have also been utilised in the creation of this soundscape.

Listen to Soundscape

The Video Installation: In the darkest, dankest reaches of the house the beautifully crafted, virgin fireplaces that array the precipitous walls of the floorless building come to life and at long last fulfill their purpose in providing warmth and a convivial atmosphere to the imagined human occupants.

Employing flying drones and a bit of Harry Potter magic this piece of whimsy offers a brief glimpse of what might have been ………………

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